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Please, Don’t Blame Bangladesh – OpEd

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Bangladesh Finalizes Agreement to Build Buddhist Monastery in Lumbini, Nepal’ was the headline of Hong Kong based Global Buddhist Door’s news headline on October 11, 2021. 

Can anyone imagine that a Muslim country is going to build a Buddhist monastery in Nepal, a religiously Hinduism based country? Recently it established a clear-cut example amongst all countries in the world that Bangladesh is the role model of communal harmony in the world. The Bangladesh government has interest and intention to hold Bangladesh as a non-communal Bangladesh. But some barbaric culprits and stupid criminals are trying to damage the national prestige of Bangladesh in international arena by committing a heinous misdeed. 

It is Bangladesh which can be considered as a champion and role model of Communal harmony in the whole world. People have been living here with lasting intercommunal peace and confidence. Bangladesh’s Inter communal harmony is well known to and praised by the world. 

The people of Bangladesh believe in the policy “Religion is everyone’s festival; everyone has equal respect for all religions.” Now a question arises. But why? Because uncivilized, barbaric perpetrators and propagandists don’t want it to be implemented. People who have Anti-Bangladeshi sentiment in their mindset always seek the time, place. They waited for the golden time for committing this and have tried to take advantage of this opportunity. Recent events surrounding Durga Puja celebration in Bangladesh proved it again.

But what’s going on in Bangladesh now? Some miscreants spread the rumors through using social media to destabilize the peace and stability of communal harmony in Bangladesh. The people of Bangladesh have been enjoying the God-given blessings in case of inter-communal ties. But miscreants who don’t want the development of the country might be behind this. 

Bangladesh as a secular country always tries to ensure the rights of all ethnic and religious groups. Bengali culture is synonymous with inter-communal harmonies. It is one of the countries in the world where Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, various ethnic tribes are living together with eternal peace.

But recent incidents regarding vandalism of Durga Idols in Bangladesh created tensions. It was an incident. The people who allegedly committed the crime must be brought under jurisdiction. No one has the right to bother or disturb anyone. 

BD PM Sheikh Hasina led government believes in inter-communal harmony. She always tries her level best to join any religious and cultural programme. Anyone can understand that she is committed to ensure the rights of all groups. Regime under Sheikh Hasina is committed to ensure that.

Bangladesh is committed to protect the rights of all groups because the inception and journey of Bangladesh was started through the participation from all walks and quarters in the society in the great 1971 liberation war. Country’s constitution has obliged Bangladesh to do it. Bangladesh knows it and practices it. No one can deny that. We are Bengali people. The Bengali nation consists of multiple religions. Bengali people hold the spirit of the great 1971 liberation war. 1971 liberation war sentiment is more related to inter-communal harmonies.

Bangladesh is a responsible country in the world. It is known to shelter the human beings (Rohingyas from Myanmar) and take back its own people to its own lard (Chakma people in 1994). Bangladesh wants to ensure perpetual regional peace in the region (in the line of 1997 (Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord)

However, in Comilla, those who have insulted the Qur’an, attacked and vandalized the puja mandapa don’t symbolize the mindset of the whole Bangladeshi people. Basically, that was mockery, misconception, terrorism in the name of serving own religion. It is true that each and every religion in the world teaches us tolerance towards others, nonviolence and to be respectful to others. Every and each human being is safe under the shelter of the umbrella of God. Recent Comilla, Chandpur, Chittagong, Rangpur incidents in Bangladesh are not the symbol of Bangladesh. Bangladesh has more districts and regions. But the incidents in the above-mentioned places are pathetic.

But perpetrators must be brought obliviously under exemplary punishment. When the Bangladesh government is paving the way for ensuring inter-communal harmony, this could harm the image of Bangladesh as a role model of inter-communal harmony worldwide. I am sure that the Bangladesh government will do that because it is the national policy of the Bangladesh government. 

People should be seen as human beings, not religious identities. Bangladesh is a country of communal harmony. Those who want to destroy this harmony must be under tribunal. BD Prime Minister has already assured this. Her prompt reaction was seen during her meeting Hindu community. 

It is Bangladesh in where Mangal Shobhajatra or Mangal Jatra at dawn on the first day of the Bengali New Year in Bangladesh, Various religious festivals such as Eid of Muslim community, Pujas of Hindu community, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day of Christian community, Buddha Purnima are taken place simultaneously. Muslim festivals of Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Azha, Milad un Nabi, Muharram, Chand raat, Shab-e-Baraat, Bishwa Ijtema; Hindu festivals of Durga Puja and Janmashtami; Buddhist festival of Buddha Purnima; Christian festival of Christmas and secular festivals like Pohela Boishakh, Nabanna, Language Movement Day, Independence Day, Rabindra Jayanti, Nazrul Jayanti witness widespread celebrations and usually are national holidays in Bangladesh. Bengalis and Non-Bengalis in Chittagong Hill Tracts region celebrate together the tribal festivals such as Biju, Sangrai, Baisabi etc. Basically, there is no religious, ethnic boundary in Bangladesh. Everyone is for everyone. People from all religions and ethnicities are united in Bangladesh. The rcent incident is just a separate incident in Bangladesh. Please, don’t blame Bangladesh for those separate incidents. Bangladesh is a country of all religious groups. 

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Pathik Hasan

Pathik Hasan is a Dhaka-based NGO activist, researcher and freelance writer on contemporary international issues whose work has been published in many local and international publications. Academic background: BSS (Peace and Conflict Studies) and MSS (International Relations) under the University of Dhaka. He can be reached at [email protected]

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